The Magic Alchemy of Tonic Herbal Elixirs

“A wise man ought to realize that health is his most valuable possession.” Hippocrates

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Throughout the majority of my life I have been using herbs, as an adjunct to eating an all organic, mostly locally sourced, whole foods, vegetarian, mostly vegan diet. My initial use of herbs was for their general tonic properties, which began over 20 years ago when I was still a teenager. As my knowledge base grew I then prepared all of my herbal remedies with concise focus on supplementing any physical weakness and treating specific imbalances. Today, my use of herbs is once again for their constitutionally strengthening and longevity promoting properties. The formula that I brew is one that most people will find great benefit from regardless of one’s constitution, as the therapeutic qualities of the herbs are very balanced; creating a powerful elixir of vitality, longevity, and health giving properties. The herbs are mainly focused on the adrenal glands, liver, nervous system, brain, and overall strengthening the entire physical body.

I only use all organic or wildcrafted herbs for my formula, with the main component being Chaga. The other herbs are added in varying amounts depending on their therapeutic properties. I do change certain herbs according to the specific season, hence the following herbs are adapted to more of a spring tonic herbal formula with extra liver support. 

Chaga, is considered the king of medicinal mushrooms according to David Wolfe’s book on Chaga. From reading much of this book it is my understanding that Chaga is a full body longevity tonic, strengthening the immune system with huge emphasis on preventing and treating cancer, cleanses and assists the liver to function better to detoxify the body, extremely rich with the highest amount of antioxidants out of all other medicinal mushrooms including red reishi. Chaga is also extremely nutrient dense with a huge array of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients such as polysaccharides, polyphenols, sterols, inotodiols, triterpenoidal saponins, melanin, betulin/betulinic acid, lupeol, trance minerals of a vast array including germanium, and major minerals, vitamins such as B2, D2, dietary fiber, and amino acid complexes.

Due to Chaga’s extensive use throughout the world numerous countries have conducted scientific studies on Chaga’s medicinal properties. A study from Korea found that a few of Chaga’s therapeutic properties are: increases the immune system, stimulates metabolism in brain tissue, anti-inflammatory effects both external and internal, antioxidant, delays growth of some tumors, lowers arterial and venous blood pressure, regulates heartbeat, decreases sugar levels in blood. Chaga has been widely used and studied in Russia for its anticancer properties, both curative and preventative: positive effect on lung and liver cancer, calms the nervous system, positively affects stomach diseases and ulcers, and stimulates the immune system.

From my personal experience of only consuming Chaga tea daily, it has a deeply grounding property to it, not only strengthening the physical body but also the energy body, specifically the lower chakras, mainly the first chakra of feeling rooted and grounded. I like to experience herbs not only for their ‘scientific’ properties, or even folklore uses, but also the energetic properties each herb imbues within its therapeutic holism. 

Ashwagandha, this herb is both a tonic and sedative herb strengthening an exhausted nervous system. This herb is renowned to assist in increasing strength, intellect, ojas, promote sleep, sexual potency, prevents consumption and wasting diseases, rejuvenative, reduces Kapha and Vata, reduces pain, and benefits breathing. This herb is specific for those with more of a deficient constitution, although most people can benefit from ashwagandha in small doses mixed with other herbs.

Guduchi, is one of my favorite herbs, also known as Amrita or ‘divine nectar’ and is described as, ‘the one who protects the body’. Its therapeutic properties lie in its rejuvenating capacity while also detoxifying and cleansing the entire body, specifically the liver. Guduchi’s main actions are, increasing appetite, quenches thirst, rejuvenate, increases strength, promotes life, nerve tonic, reduces fevers, reduces burning sensation, destroys toxins, alleviates skin disorders, relieves gout/arthritis, cleans the blood, increases sexual potency, increases lifespan, and reduces all three doshas. It also regulates blood sugar levels, heals the bowels with all imbalances.

The only recommendation I would provide is not to use too much, as Guduchi is a very strong herb and if you use too much the detox symptoms will be very strong.   

Schisandra berries, I specifically supplemented these due to the fact it is spring and the liver needs a little more assistance than normal. These berries are a herbal treasure, they work to purify the blood, sharpen the mind, improve memory, rejuvenate the kidney energy (especially sexual energy and functions for men and women) and causes the skin to become radiantly beautiful. In traditional Chinese medicine, schizandra is highly esteemed because it tonifies all three treasures (Jing, Qi and Shen, which sustain the essential energies for human life). It also tonifies and regulates all five elements and tonifies and regulates all twelve organ-meridian systems.

Olive leaf, is another of my all time favorite medicinal herbs that functions to kill a broad range of viruses, bacteria, yeasts, fungi, and other parasites in your system without harming the beneficial bacteria. Correctly used, just this property alone could eliminate the discomfort of most illnesses strengthens the immune system. Olive leaf additionally, has a tremendous amount of antioxidants, strengthens and cleanses the liver, strengthens the heart, and can be used for arthritis, and protects against radiation damage. I personally love this herb as an all round gentle herb that works for such a broad spectrum of prevalent health issues.

Brahmi, the name of this herb literally means the energy or Shakti of Brahman through its mind enhancing and nervous system calming benefits. Additional benefits include, calming Vata through re-directing the flow of Vata downward, reduces mental illness, increases intellectual power, heart tonic, rejuvenates the nervous system, increases longevity, strengthens the mind, promotes energy, promotes sleep, and alleviates skin conditions.

My personal recommendation is to use a very small amount of this herb as it does have a very calming and sedating effect that may be far too strong for many people who want to feel more energized. 

Preparation, I brew my herbal formula in a large soup pot that holds 16 cups of water. I begin by putting 4Tbsp of Chaga, then 1Tbsp of each, Ashwagandha and Schisandra berries, which I bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer on my smallest burner. I usually simmer the brew for up to 3 hours, yet for those who really don’t feel like they have the time, you can brew everything up to 1 hour and  re-brew the combo later. After the duration of time I turn the stove off and add 1Tbsp of each of the additional herbs that are better infused than brewed in a decoction.

I have greatly benefited from this herbal remedy, therefore I felt the need to share it with others. I also feel that to take herbs in extract form through capsules or even tincture may be convenient, yet you are not getting the full medicinal benefit of the herb. In my experience the MOST benefit I have ever received from herbs is through either decocting them (brewing for a duration of time), or infusing them in the form of a tea that you pour boiling water over and steep. In addition, I mostly use all organic herbs found within the lexicon of Chinese Medicine due to my training (only plant based) and Ayurveda, as I find these two systems of medicine to be very complex and therapeutic rather other herbal systems. I also strongly believe that all herbs should be consumed in a formula, rather than as a single herb, due to the energetic, regulating, and balancing effect a formula has when used long term. 

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